What is Orchitis?
Orchitis represents the inflammation of one or both testicles due to microbial infection – either bacterial or viral- or some other unspecific inflammation. Most of the time, orchitis is seen in young men affected by a sexually transmitted infection (STI) and associated with epididymitis, in which case the condition is known as epididymo-orchitis. In some cases, orchitis can interfere with the male reproductive capacity by causing infertility.
Orchitis Signs and Symptoms
Most of the time, orchitis signs and symptoms develop in a sudden way, because the nature of its cause is mostly an infection. Some symptoms might include:
- Mild fever.
- Progressive swelling in the affected testicle.
- Red-colored and elevated temperature in the affected testicle.
- Pain in the testicle and low abdomen.
- Nausea and vomiting.
Orchitis Common Causes
In the majority of cases, orchitis occurs as a result of the inflammation process after some microbial infection of the testicle produced by the following:
- Sexually transmitted infections (STIs), caused by some bacteria of the urinary tract. Which is the most common cause and is usually related to epididymitis or some other infections of the urethra or the bladder.
- Viral orchitis. The mumps virus is the principal cause of viral orchitis and is a common cause among young adults and teenagers.
Additionally, there are some risk factors that are strongly related to the development of orchitis, including:
- Personal history of STIs.
- Personal history of recurrent prostate or urinary infections.
- History of any invasive procedure involving the urinary tract or the prostate.
- Being born with an abnormality in the urinary tract.
Your doctor will ask you about your personal history and will perform a proper physical exam to look after any enlargement or any increased warm sensation of your testicles. Additionally, your doctor will request the following tests to confirm your condition, including:
- Penile secretion sample. In order to check after any possible STI associated with epididymitis, like gonorrhea and chlamydia.
- Urine test. A sample of your urine will be tested in order to check any possible infection or abnormality.
- Imagining tests. In case your diagnosis is not clear, your doctor will perform an ultrasound with Doppler in order to rule out any testicular torsion or another more serious condition of your testicles.
The treatment of orchitis depends on it’s underlying cause. Most cases of orchitis are related to microbial infections, including bacterial and viral, and there are different treatment depending on one or another.
In case your condition is proved to be caused by a bacterial infection or associated with an STI, using antibiotics is necessary as the most important part of your treatment. Your doctor will prescribe a specific antibiotic for your condition and it’s important for you to fully finish the entire course of antibiotics, even if you are feeling better.
On the other hand, in the case of viral orchitis, your doctor will give you some recommendations to reduce the symptoms, which may involve using some nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, applying cold packs directly to your testicles, and resting in bed.
Most people affected by orchitis feel better after 3 to 7 days of proper treatment.
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